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» 05/30/2014
INDONESIA
Yogyakarta, Islamic extremists attack a group of Catholics gathered in prayer
by Mathias Hariyadi

The raid targeted faithful of the parish of the Holy Family of Banteng, praying the rosary and practicing hymns for Sunday. The host and owner of a small publishing house in the area brutally beaten. Archbishop of Semarang calls for thorough investigations. Sources told AsiaNews: "In the past fundamentalist groups attacked Ahmadis in the area".

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A group of Islamic extremists in the area of Besi have brutally and violently attacked faithful of the parish of the Holy Family of Banteng , in the area north of Yogyakarta (island of Java). Church sources in Semarang confirm the attack took place at 9 last night when Catholics held their weekly meeting to pray the Rosary and practice their Sunday hymns. Local witnesses report that, suddenly, a group of Islamic fundamentalists raided the private house owned by a local Catholic leader, throwing stones and rocks. The assailants brutally beat him and then fled in haste.

At the time the owner, Julius Felicianus, was not at home; informed of events, he left friends and colleagues and returned home to assess the situation in person.

However, as soon as he crossed the threshold of the house, the Islamic extremist group made a second and more violent attack: the Islamists stormed the apartment, assaulting Felicianus - Director of Galang Press, a small publishing house local - with stones and an iron bar. The group also hit him over the head with an earthenware vase causing a deep wound.  What is striking is the fact that they wanted to target him and other members inside the house as well as some journalists, who arrived on the scene.

The reasons for the attack is unknown. It is also unclear whether they wished to target the publisher in particular, or the entire Catholic community. The incident has caused shock and fear among the faithful who fear new attacks.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, the Archbishop of Semarang Msgr. Johannes Pujasumarta reports that the reasons behind the attack should be investigated quickly and clearly; he hopes for thorough investigations, not only by the police, but also "the local Catholic community " and the results will be handed over "to the authorities for further investigation". Sources engaged in interreligious dialogue recall that the area is known for the presence of various Islamic organizations, moderate and extremist; the latter have become protagonists in the past of violent attacks against the Muslim Ahmadi minority.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Increasingly however, it has become the scene of attacks or episodes of intolerance against minorities, whether they are Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or belong to other faiths. Aceh is the only Indonesian province where Sharia (Islamic law) is enforced, following a peace agreement between the central government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Yet, in many other areas of the country, a more radical and extreme vision of Islam is spreading among ordinary Indonesians.  Certain rules such as the infamous building permit (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan or IMB in Indonesian) have been used to prevent the construction of Christian places of worship or stop construction already underway, as was the case for the Yasmin Church in West Java. In December last year, at least five Christian places of worship have had to close their doors due to pressure from Islamists.

 


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See also
12/02/2013 INDONESIA - ISLAM
North Sumatra: Hundreds of Islamists attack Protestant community during prayer service
by Mathias Hariyadi
07/07/2014 INDONESIA
Christian leaders: religious freedom at risk if Subianto wins presidential elections
by Mathias Hariyadi

03/25/2014 INDONESIA
West Java, Islamists block construction of a Catholic Church
by Mathias Hariyadi
02/21/2014 INDONESIA
South Sumatra, hundreds of Islamists block the construction of a Protestant church
by Mathias Hariyadi
08/30/2006 INDONESIA
No more solitary confinement for three Catholics on death row
by Benteng Reges

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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